By Emily Coyle

“I got caught up in life and the next thing I knew I was receiving a notice that I had not passed my nursing license exam.”

I graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. I was extremely excited to start my new life as an adult outside an academic setting. I was also nervous to begin my career in nursing, considering it is a field that often produces overworked and burned out individuals, but I was still hopeful that this was where the Lord led me. The last hurdle I had to jump through was passing my board exam (a comprehensive exam that every nurse must take to become a registered nurse, which allows us to legally work).

I studied, but begrudgingly I admit that I did not study hard enough. I got caught up in life and the next thing I knew I was receiving a notice that I had not passed my nursing license exam. I was devastated at first. I didn’t understand why God would allow me to make it through 4 years of nursing school only to let me stumble over this last hurdle. I moped around and stayed in bed for about a week following. After watching an impressive amount of YouTube videos of people not passing their NCLEX, I decided to pick myself back up and start again.

Between the time period of graduating and now, I had applied to many jobs, had interviews here and there, and also applied to new grad residency programs. Yet I found myself without a license or a job. Despite all this and how depressing it was in moments of weakness, I found so many reasons to trust in Jesus because He has never disappointed me. Though I did not understand the place I was in and found myself saying “this was not apart of my plans”, I knew it is a part of His.

Weeks went by and I was stuck in the mundane routine of studying 6 hours a day with none of my close friends around me to either study with or just be present in general. I was growing tired of waiting on God’s plan and was not sure if He was going to deliver me from this situation. During this time I decided to partake in a challenge called Nineveh 90; it’s a challenge that lasts 90 days and there is much fasting and prayer. I wanted to become more disciplined to improve my studying habits, but I also wanted to throw myself into prayer during this time that I felt most alone. During the 90 days, I wrestled with the fear that God didn’t want the same things for my life as I did. What if God’s plan was for me not to pass, again. I was afraid of having to go through the studying process a 3rd or 4th time, and I was frustrated by the idea of even more setbacks to starting my adult life.

After much time, I was finally able to make peace with the idea of not passing a 3rd, a 4th, or even a 5th time. I knew even if it was painful in the moments surrounding, the ultimate plan would be joyful and something beautiful would come out of it. It all comes down to trust, how much are we willing to fully trust in Jesus? How much are we willing to trust Jesus not just during the big moments when we feel a sudden surge of courage but during the small moments of life when we are uncomfortable or afraid. Can we trust in Him when those around us ask, “What are you doing with your life? When are you going to get a job? What are your plans?” and you feel a loss of control or a sense of failure because you’re not where the world might want you to be. Obviously we must cooperate with God’s plan and do whatever we can to aid in it, but ultimately He will move the mountains above us and shift the sands below our feet.

I eventually did pass my nursing exam the second time around. Even though I would have preferred to pass the first time, it was in God’s plan to use that time before I took the exam again to prepare me for something even greater. He did more than just make me a better nurse; he made me a better Christian.

All this to say that if you have ever found yourself in a place where you did not plan or want to be in, strap yourself in and go along with the ride. When you submit yourself to Him and choose to find joy in the journey that God has set before you, it will change your life.